There is no training program/workout any coach can create that can make up for a lack of consistency in training. The higher your goals are as an athlete; the more important consistency is. If you’re consistent in your training, you will improve. If you’re inconsistent, you will have a difficult time making performance gains.
That concept is pretty simple and yet it’s easy to get caught up in the plethora of training metrics that I'm about to describe. Remember to focus on the macro before you focus on the micro: eat nutrient dense food, sleep well and make training a daily priority if you want to achieve the goals set in place.
As an endurance athlete, how do you know when you’re at peak form and ready to race? Did you hang onto the “A Group” at the local group ride? Did you steal a coveted KOM on Strava? Did you shave time off of your favorite run loop? Did you crush a swim time trial? These are certainly all indicators of fitness, but they're all quite subjective.
TrainingPeaks utilizes a few key metrics to help determine your fitness level: Training Stress Score (TSS) & Critical Training Load (CTL). These metrics are tools that we can use to establish peak fitness for your key event.
What is a Training Stress Score (TSS)?
TSS is an estimate of the training load created by a workout based on intensity and duration. A 1-hour cycling activity at maximum steady-state intensity is 100 TSS (112 for running). TSS can be used to determine how much recovery may be needed after a given workout. TSS is also used to calculate Fitness (CTL).
What is Critical Training Load (CTL)?
One of the best ways to see how consistent you are in your training is to follow your Chronic Training Load (CTL) in your Performance Management Chart (PMC). The PMC is a Premium feature within TrainingPeaks.
Your CTL is a 42 day exponentially-weighted average of your daily Training Stress Score®(TSS®). It is very representative of your fitness level since it rises slowly as you accumulate workouts but falls very quickly when workouts are missed. Your daily TSS score is determined after a swim, bike or run automatically provided you have set your Functional Threshold Power, Threshold Pace or Threshold Heart Rate values. On the bike, power is the most accurate
way to measure TSS while on the run pace is the most accurate measurement. In both cases, heart rate can also be used to gain an accurate TSS value. An accurate daily TSS is crucial to maintaining an accurate CTL.